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Friday, 16 September 2016

September 2016 Cruise

In the 2nd week in September we had another week on NB Centurion, just Gill and I this time, we arrived mid day at Welton Hythe Marina in light rain, after unloading, and with no sign of the drizzle easing we decided to chance Watford Locks. The drizzle was on and off through the locks.
Waiting for the staircase.
We moored a couple of bridges after the lock,away from the noise of the M1 at one of our favourite spots, the promise of a better Sunday showed in the sky.
Brightening up in the evening.
On the Sunday, well fed with a cooked breakfast we meandered on through Crick Tunnel, past Yelvertoft. Although warm, we did not have the promised sun, After lunch at Welford Junction we went through Husbands Bosworth Tunnel and on past Laughton Hills to moor a few bridges before Foxton Locks. After dinner we had a walk along to the locks and the inclined plane.
Approach cutting to Husbands Bosworth Tunnel.
Cruising near Laughton Hills
Laughton Hills.
We had rain overnight, it had cleared by Monday morning, but still dull with cloud cover. We dropped down the locks before turning left to Debdale Marina to have the repaired cratch boards fitted, only an hours job.
Foxton Top Lock.
We turned at Debdale, back towards Foxton and on to the Market Harborough Arm, the arm is quite narrow, with many reedy sections, requiring a sharp lookout for oncoming boats.
Reedy section on the way to Market Harborough.
Repaired Cratch.
We wandered into Market Harborough for a coffee and cake before returning for dinner.
Tuesday we again went into Market Harborough, a Costa Mocha was calling along with some lunch from a nice Deli near the town square. The Market was not as we remembered, quite small now, Gill managed to find a few cake supply and kitchen ware shops for what seemed liked a very long browse!
Returning to the boat after lunch we set off only to be stopped at the first bridge by a fallen tree, around 5 boats where held up, Canal and River Trust where just clearing the last remains of this.
Union Wharf, Market Harborough.
Old Grammar School - Market Harborough.
Nice TR7 in for MOT - Market Harborough.
Stoppage for Fallen tree.
CRT winching out the last branches of the fallen willow.
We cruised on in increasingly brighter weather to moor at the bottom of Foxton locks.
Heading for Foxton.
After a pleasant evening at Foxton, Wednesday dawned fine and sunny, we ascended the locks, there must have been around 10 volunteer lockies today, mostly painting and gardening, we had a bit of a wait however 4 in front of us waiting to go up and 5 coming down. The lockies only worked by setting the bottom ,middle, and top locks though.
Gill on the tiller at Foxton.
Andy resting at Foxton.
We carried on after taking water at the top, past the Loughton Hills, through Husbands Bosworth tunnel to moor at the popular Welford Junction. Lots of boats here tonight.
Welford Junction.
After a nice evening meal, then a circular walk around the area we retired early to bed.
Thursday we awoke to another sunny day, breakfast over, we reversed back to the junction and took the Welford arm, narrow and overgrown, up the single lock to Welford where we moored for water and rubbish disposal and a quick look around the Lime Kilns and wharf area.
Welford Wharf.
Welford Locks.
Welford Arm.
We carried on past the A14 crossing, on to Yelvertoft in great weather to moor at Crick, opposite the Marina. We took a walk up to the Millennium Woods, up Cracks Hill, and back down through Crick Parkland back to the boat for dinner.
Crick Millenium Woods.
View from Cracks Hill.
Cracks Hill.
Gill descending Cracks Hills.
Friday morning was sunny, after another fry up breakfast we set of for Crick tunnel, passing a few boats on the way through without any problems. We had a short wait at Watford locks whilst boats came up the flight then descended without the help of any volunteers.
Leaky Gates
Decending Watford Locks
Gill working hard.
We then had a short run up to Welton Hythe Marina to service the boat, diesel, pump out, etc, before reversing to the mooring. It was owner service week so all fluids where checked, belts checked, hoses checked, nothing that we don't do during the week anyway. Before cleaning and packing up we took a short drive to Long Buckby and the Heart of the Shires craft and shops where we had a nice light lunch and drinks. After an afternoon spent cleaning and polishing the brass we went down to the New Inn for dinner, just the normal pub grub at a reasonable price.
Overnight it rained which ruined the previous days polishing, but at least it was clean. Then it was the journey back to Norfolk in driving rain.
Really enjoyed the week, we went at a slow pace with no real itinerary and had reasonable weather.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

August 2016 Cruise

Last week Father and I spent a week on the boat together, we left Welton Hythe Marina around 1 pm Saturday, aiming to moor in Braunston by the evening, I had traveled from Norfolk, father had come from York on the train, then push biked from Rugby to Welton Hythe, at the age of 81.
We passed through Braunston Tunnel, only passing one boat midway, Braunston locks where not particularly busy with boats, however there was a music festival so plenty of revelers about, plus a strong smell of weed in the air.
Welton Hythe Marina.
Grand Union near Norton Junction.
Lock Buddies at Braunston.
The Home Brew Boat at Braunston.
Link to Home Brew Boat here - https://nbareandare.com/

We moored the other-side of Braunston on the Northern Oxford Canal with a good view of Braunston Church, looking very nice in the Evening Sun.
Braunston Church.
On the Sunday we headed for Hillmorton Locks, quite busy now with a lot of hire-boaters about, we moored below Hillmorton for lunch before moving forward onto the water-point for a top up.
Duplicated locks at Hillmorton.
Here Father made a silly jump to the bank, which has a soft edge with overhanging grass, he missed the bank and went in between the bows and the bank. I dragged him out, a bit shaken and with grazes to the front of his legs. Hot tea and a shower later and plenty of Savlon he announced himself OK to carry on. We cruised on through Rugby, Newbold and the tunnel before mooring near Brinklow for the evening.
One of many Bridges over course of old canal.
Monday we cruised on towards Hawkesbury Junction, father now had a fair amount of bruising on his legs and a suspected calf strain, my quest was to find him some deep heat or similar at Hawksbury, quite a walk before I found some.
Heavy vegetation growth Near Ansty.
Hawkesbury Junction.
We moved on, taking the 90 degree turn at Hawkesbury Junction and headed down the Coventry Canal to Marston Junction, turning on to the Ashby Canal. We passed through Hinckley and moored near  Higham on the Hill.
Bridge 1 on the Ashby Canal.
On Tuesday father decided he needed the medical center at Market Bosworth for a second opinion on his leg, so we pushed on through Stoke Golding, Sutton Cheyney, and past the Battle of Bosworth site before mooring. He was only able to see a nurse who recommended a heat rub for the calf and a second opinion at a Hospital. therefore we immediately turned and headed back to the start of the Ashby, mooring for the night near Burton Hastings. Later that evening he would not consider a taxi to Coventry or Nuneaton Hospital, there where no A and E facilities at Hinckley. The heat rub seemed to work so he was happy to wait until we got back to the car.
Near Stoke Golding.
Stoke Golding.
NB Waiouru at Bosworth Wharf. http://www.narrowboat-waiouru.co.uk/
Wednesday we where away early from Burton Hastings with the intention of making Hillmorton, Dad was ok steering as he could take the weight of his foot using the seat in our Semi Trad steering area. We made good time to Hawkesbury Junction, turned onto the Northern Oxford and cleared Ansty and Stretton before lunch. Then it was on to Rugby and Hillmorton locks.
Near the end of the Ashby Canal.
Thursday we had a late start, we passed what used to be Blue Haven Marine, where NB Centurion was fitted out and launched 13 years ago, and the Launch ceremony at the Old Royal Oak next door.
NB Centurions Birthplace.
Then it was up the Braunston Locks with lock buddies, a slight delay between 3 and 4 with an empty pound, then through the very busy tunnel, had to hold for a while at the very bendy section with 3 boats coming towards us, did not want to get jammed up there.
Approaching Braunston bottom lock.
We made it back to Welton Hythe by mid afternoon, father was put in a chair on the bank to rest his leg whilst I cleaned and polished.
Back in Welton Hythe Marina.
Friday we took a trip to Northampton General Hospital A and E. Pretty good service as we only waited about half an hour. Took me longer to find a parking space! The report was no real damage and a referral to his doctor in York to check on the bruising this week.
We had lunch out and a look in the library before heading back to the Marina to sort out diesel, gas, and pump-out, the Marina had completed a few booked service items whilst we had been away.

We had fine and sunny weather for the week, father worked out we had done about 91 miles, 20 Locks, 4 tunnels and using about £56 worth of diesel.
He declared himself fit enough to ride his bike to Rugby Railway station on the Saturday morning, he would not use Long Buckby, which was nearer, nor would he leave his bike behind!

Away again in 2 weeks time.

PS, We spotted the mighty NB Caxton on route, Paul, we hope this brings back happy memories, our thoughts are with Elaine and you at this difficult time.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

April Cruise

The first week in April saw Gill and I head to the new location of NB Centurion, the boat is now at Welton Hythe Marina near the junction of the Grand Union Main line and Grand Union Leicester line. We have previously hired from Weltonfield Narrowboats here, a boat named NB Cressy been the boat hired the most by us, the best and well fitted hire boats we have ever used.
We arrived on Saturday afternoon, after shopping and various tasks we moved the boat from the Marina to the towpath to await friends on Sunday morning.
The following morning our friend's arrived, we did a quick car run to leave their car at Crick Marina, then set off for Watford locks after a round of bacon butties.
We soon reached Watford locks, there was a small queue, just a 20 minute wait, then we where away up the locks.
Watford Staircase Locks
Richard and Lou on the tiller.
Leaving the locks we let Richard steer through Crick Tunnel then on Yelvertoft, before we winded and moored at Crick for a late lunch.
View towards Cracks Hill near Crick.
After lunch our guests departed back to Suffolk and we winded again and moored near Cracks Hill for the night.
Mooring for the night.
On the Monday we cruised slowly on to Yelvertoft, filling the water tank there, then on to Welford Junction to wind and have lunch, another favourite mooring of ours.
Passed by a lovely tug style boat.
Welford Junction
We started heading back towards Crick, still some weak sunshine, but no rain yet, We moored overnight after bridge 28 near Elkington when the rain arrived, a quieter mooring would be hard to find, not even dog walkers around. Just the sound of the birds, and owls later at night.
Lovely mooring near Elkington.
Tuesday we headed back through Crick and the Tunnel, then down Watford locks to moor overnight outside Welton Hythe Marina, we where waiting for Gills brother Pete and partner Shani to arrive.
Near Yelvertoft.
Blue sky at Cracks Hill Bridge.
Crick Tunnel.
Watford Staircase Locks.
Our guests eventually arrived at 9pm Tuesday night, so after a quick catch up it was off to bed.
On Wednesday we set of the short distance to Norton Junction, turned left onto the Grand Union and headed down Buckby locks, no lock Buddy's about so we took a little longer to descend the 7 locks onto the Blisworth pound. Was a little overcast in the morning as we descend the locks.
Buckby top lock, Gill showing Pete and Shani how to operate the locks.
Spotted Maffi at Buckby Wharf, did not get to speak.
Somersault signal in garden at Buckby.
Pete, Gill, and Shani getting in to the swing of it at Buckby lock 9.
We moored on Weedon embankment for lunch where shortly after the weather changed, the wind got up and squally showers came over occasionally.
Another blogger spotted near Gayton, NB Rock and Roll.
We carried on in the wind, which also included a couple of hail storms, then took on water at Gayton junction before going through Blisworth Tunnel to moor at Stoke Bruerne for the evening. As usual towards the end of the day we had some sun and the wind died down. Had a good meal at Stoke Bruerne followed by a scrabble evening which turned very competitive between brother and sister and did not end until late!
Blisworth Mill.
Early evening sun at Stoke Bruerne visitor moorings.
After the usual bacon butties on Thursday morning we wandered up for a look around the museum, top lock area and village, before reversing to the winding hole near Blisworth Tunnel entrance, winding, before Pete and I cruised through the tunnel whilst the girls walked over the top via the woodland walks.
We had to wait for them to catch up at the Blisworth end of the tunnel.
Blisworth Tunnel.
Blisworth Mill.
Another bloggers boat, NB Sickle at High House
We took on water at Stowe Hill, moored nearby where bloggers Muleless and Maffi.
NB Muleless.
We carried on, accompanied by the West Coast main line and the frequent Pendolino's and eventually moored in more windy conditions near Brockhall, nicely shielded by the cutting and trees from the noisy railway and nearby M1.
Brockhall mooring, stove lit, dinner on, perfect.
Friday morning we set off leisurely back to Welton Hythe, just a short cruise to Whilton, then the 7 Buckby locks, before mooring for a latish lunch in the re-opened New Inn at Buckby top lock, a decent simple menu and value for money. We spotted the lovely blogging boat NB Achenar in the top lock.
Nice to see Jules Fuels delivering coal to the nearby cottages at Whilton.
NB Achenar.
We headed back to Welton Hythe where we filled with diesel, emptied the nasties, then took our berth before saying goodbye to Pete and Shani. Gill and I then spent the early evening packing, before a quiet evening on our own.
Saturday morning was the usual cleaning, Brass polishing, and getting ready for the next owners before the drive home to Norfolk.
Cleaned and Ready.
Newly fitted smart gauge, good to see it at this state at the end of most days.
Can now keep a check on our daughters electricity use when she brings her gadgets and playstation to watch films, gaming, etc. That will cheese her off.